Use Your EI At Work!
Knowing how to identify and manage emotions can help in building and
sustaining an ‘emotionally intelligent’ workplace. As the rules of work
are changing, people are not only being judged on their IQ and
educational qualification. A new concept of ‘Emotional Intelligence’
(EI) is gaining popularity among companies. EI, means the ability to
manage both personal and professional emotions and apply them for
career progression. The best part about EI, is that it can be learnt.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, EI, can be defined differently by different
people. For some, it is about being a “nice guy”, while others find it
too hard to believe that even emotions can be intelligent.
While different theories and researches have been undertaken to define
EI, in layman’s terms emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive
emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought. In
simple terms emotional intelligence is the ability to reason with, and
about emotions; it combines feelings with thinking and vice versa.
And at workplace, emotional intelligence defines a set of skills, or
competencies, which provides HR professionals, managers, and any one in the world of work, with a comprehensive tool to define, measure and
develop emotional skills. Thus emotional intelligence can be defined as
the capacity to recognise our own feelings and those of others, for
motivating ourselves and managing emotions well in our social
interactions.

Why is Emotional Intelligence critical to workplace performance?
It takes more than technical skills to be successful. Emotional
intelligence or the ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger
and self-doubt and to focus on positive ones such as confidence and
congeniality are the key determinants of an individual’s career growth.
Not only do superiors and corporate leaders need high doses of
emotional intelligence, but every job demands it too. People skills run parallel to the concept of emotional intelligence and its application at
workplace. HR experts point that emotional intelligence matters twice as much as technical and analytic skill combined for star performances, and the higher people move up in the company, the more crucial emotional intelligence becomes.

A display of emotions like anxiety on new project, happiness over the
promotion, fear of losing job, tension of the board meeting and alike,
can take place in the workplace. The way an individual manages his/her
emotions can convey critical information about his/her performance at
work: for example, happiness indicates satisfaction levels while
tension depicts nervousness etc.

Here are a few steps that can help an individual identify his EI and
use it effectively at his workplace: -

1. Identifying Emotions
This is very important. One needs to be aware of his/her own feelings
and emotions so that one is not blinded by emotions. Similarly being
aware of other’s emotions is a key to developing strong relationships
with colleagues.

2. Understanding Emotions
Knowing what motivates people, understanding their point of view and
handling team interactions help in building the framework of EI.

3. Managing Emotions
Like the way one manages a scheduler, one can learn to manage one’s
emotions as well. It means being aware of those individual emotions
that have valuable information and their application to solve problems. For
e.g :
If one is feeling sad, one needs to find out the reason for this and
solve the problem.
If one is angry, one needs to find out the reason for the frustration,
and solve the problem.
If one is anxious, one needs to find out the reason for the worry, and
solve the problem
If one is joyous, one needs to find out the reason for the happiness,
and use this in future.

4. Using Emotional Intelligence On The Job
Management experts opine that almost seventy per cent of management
problem solving happens in the mind, and only thirty per cent through
analytical techniques. The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance, but the challenge that lies ahead is to demonstrate that such competencies can be acquired and when they are, they significantly impact employee performance.

Now the question: How can EI, be used for career development?
Judicious application of EI can lead to:

Management Development: Managers who focus on their technical skills do not manage, they’re just in charge. Understanding and enhancing emotional intelligence enhances management skills.

Team Effectiveness: Teams are more than the sum of the individual
parts. The glue, which holds teams together, can be supplied by emotional intelligence.

Selection: Hiring decisions can be better informed through the use of a
thorough job analysis and an ability-based measure of emotional
intelligence.

Emotional intelligence and management development
Emotional intelligence, defined as a set of abilities, may assist
managers in several, critical ways:
* Making planning more flexible
* Motivating themselves and others
* Making more informed decisions

Flexible Planning
Managers who are emotionally intelligent use their emotions to adapt
their plans. They do not ignore uncomfortable facts. Emotionally
intelligent behaviour helps managers plan better in many ways:
* Change plans to meet the need of the moment
* Adapt to the situation
* Consider a variety of possible actions
* Come up with alternate plans
* Avoid doing consistently the same thing
* Avoid sticking to a plan which is not working

Motivation
Emotionally intelligent managers are able to understand their emotions,
and those of others, which helps them to motivate their staff, and
themselves. Emotionally intelligent managers:
* Get people to keep going, even when they want to give up
* Get people to try again after failing at something
* Motivate others
* Motivate self
* Get things done

Decision Making
Managers are called upon to make decisions every day. Decisions based
upon strong emotions, when the emotions are not dealt with in a
constructive way, can be bad decisions. Emotionally intelligent
managers
make better decisions in these ways:
* Use emotions to improve their thinking
* See things clearly even when feelings are strong
* Make good, solid decisions although they may be angry at the time
* Don’t react out of anger
* Balance their thoughts and their feelings
* Make decisions based on their head and their heart
* Don’t let strong emotions blind them

Emotional intelligence and team effectiveness
When one works in a team environment, the skills of emotional
intelligence become even more important to the job. One of the keys is
to work effectively and efficiently with others. Another way in which
emotional intelligence can help an individual in the teamwork is by
helping to generate new and creative ideas and solutions to problems.

Creative Thinking
All teams require its members to come up with solutions to problems.
Sometimes the problems are very complex, at other times they are quite
simple. Yet all problems require creative thought to generate ideal
solutions.
Emotional intelligence helps an individual to think creatively in many
ways:
* View problems from multiple perspectives
* Have many new and creative ideas
* Be inventive
* Generate original ideas and solutions
* See new solutions

Social Effectiveness
When one works in a team, or even with just one person, social
effectiveness allows the person to accomplish goals working with other
people. EI, can help an individual to work with others in these ways:
* Enjoyable to be with
* Good at influencing people
* Build consensus
* Believable and trusting
* Empathetic

Where Does Emotional Intelligence Fit In Terms of Workplace Success?
Emotional intelligence is not the sole predictor of workplace success,
career satisfaction, or leadership effectiveness. It is one of many
important components. Part of being an educated user of emotional
intelligence means understanding that it is not and should not be
thought of as a replacement or substitute for ability, knowledge or job
skills. Emotional intelligence – people skills – enhances one’s success, but it does not guarantee it in the absence of suitable skills.

Emotional intelligence always helps the individual. It is a good thing
to have. But other skills and competencies are also important. Emotional intelligence is applying intuition and emotion to problem-solving. Emotional Intelligence strengthens one’s self-leadership and interpersonal relationships, and fortunately, it is a skill that can be learnt.
The key role and importance of applying EI, at workplace is that it
lets the individual explore how emotional forces are managed in the
workplace and how the consequences of managed work performance lead to business success. It adds new layers of meaning to one’s daily work experience, lending insight to personal feelings and to dealings with others in the workplace.

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